Police, residents gather on Sunnyside Ave. in Jefferson Park where man recently murdered, other gun-related activity
by BRIAN NADIG
About 80 people gathered Friday evening, April 2, as part of a “talk with tact” event on a stretch of West Sunnyside Avenue in Jefferson Park where in a 48-hour period last month a man was fatally shot, a vehicle was damaged by gunfire and two suspected gang members were arrested in connection with drugs and guns.
The arrests occurred near Sunnyside and Linder avenues, within a day of the fatal shooting of a 37-year-old Indiana man on March 21 at Sunnyside and Laramie avenues, where on March 22 a man reported that his vehicle was struck by bullets after he turned onto southbound Laramie from Sunnyside.
16th (Jefferson Park) District commander Maureen Biggane credited an alert citizen for calling 911 and reporting suspicious activity that led to the gun- and drug-related arrests.
Biggane said that police rely on the eyes and ears of residents to report suspicious activity given that the 28-square-mile size of the district makes it difficult to patrol. “This is about building bridges and partnerships,” she said, thanking the residents who came out to meet with the district’s tactical officers.
The March 21 homicide, the first in the district in 2021, remains under investigation, and no one has been arrested in connection with it, police said.
In recent weeks there have been several reports of gunshots in the area, where officers have been recovering shell casings, according to police.
Tactical lieutenant Terry Forbes said that that neighborhood is not “a gang territory” but that some gang members live in the area, while additional gang members are driving through it.
Last week a Chicago Police Department official praised 16th and neighboring 17th (Albany Park) district officers for doing a good job of arresting gang members on gun charges but said the suspects are not being held in custody for long.
Aldermen James Gardiner (45th) and Nick Sposato (38th) attended the event and urged residents to report gang graffiti to their ward officers. Gardiner said that the graffiti is often removed within hours.
Biggane announced that the district will be receiving a Strategic Decision Support Center, where officers can monitor police observation device cameras and analyze other data.
In addition, police officials urged residents to first report crimes ad suspicious activity to police before posting it online. Biggane said that there are too many social media sites for the district to monitor.
“They post the stuff (and) they still don’t call 911,” Biggane told residents.